The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed. But Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind. Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves--Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.--From publisher description.
Original publication date
(Of course, I never stipulated when, which is very wise when doing book deals with younger sisters.)
So probably a year and a half later, my conscience finally caught up with me and I settled down to fulfill my promise. And lo and behold, my sister was right! The Host is different from the Twilight books in many ways — though I did notice some similarities too. In this story, Meyer describes a world in which the aliens (called Souls) have taken over the planet. Only, they don't just take the planet... they take over people's bodies. The story is narrated by one of the Souls, known as Wanderer for her many lives on different planets that her kind have taken. She is implanted into a recently captured human, Melanie, who refuses to fade away as most other humans do when they become hosts. Slowly, Melanie gains strength as the voice in Wanderer's head, until she — they — strike out on a desperate journey to find Melanie's younger brother.
It turns out there is a whole colony of 30+ people who have escaped becoming hosts, living secretly in a desert cave hideout. The relationships are all very complicated, as Wanderer is one of the hated Souls whom the humans see (quite naturally) as parasitic, but Melanie is still alive inside her somewhere, so they can't kill her, but she's a Soul... Jamie, Melanie's younger brother, develops a close relationship with Wanderer, but most in the group will have nothing to do with her.
At its best, the story raises questions of personality versus physicality, but at its worst... well, I hate to say it but there are definite aspects of the infamous Twilight love triangle here. Jared was Melanie's lover and is understandably quite angry and confused about what to do with her body with Wanderer inhabiting it, while Ian, another young man in the group, eventually falls in love with her. Two people in one body creates endless possibilities for awkward romantic moments and oh-I-just-HAD-to-kiss-him-type complications that are reminiscent of the conveniently imperative entanglements of Twilight.
At the end, there really is a problem Meyer has to solve to give her characters a happy ending. There aren't enough bodies to go around! Wanderer can't stay if Melanie is to be given her body back, as Wanderer is determined she will. Like Bella, Wanderer resolves to sacrifice herself, but gets a happy ending despite all her best-laid plans. It's not perfect, but there really isn't any other solution, I suppose.
Despite the angsty love triangle, I was really pulled into this story. Meyer is not the best writer, but her plots do compel me to keep reading. I finished this in two days and enjoyed it, for the most part. It's a different spin on the themes of alien invasion and going native, and much better than Twilight. While not destined to be a favorite of mine or a lasting piece of literature, The Host provided a few hours of entertainment and I'm not sorry my sister roped me into reading it.
Now, maybe in a couple years I'll get to the other book she lent me...
To get the Twilight comparison out of the way, I can and can't believe that the two are written by the same person. Some aspects of it are night and day (for example, the very concepts) but then, there are very similar
There's the fact that both are fantastical, that they deal strongly (mostly) with romance, and that the main character, a female, is strong-willed and willing to sacrifice for the ones she loves.
To be honest, that character trait grew in Wanderer as the story developed, and, although it was what the story called for, I also wondered if Meyer is capable of a different type of leading lady.
The two stories are also comparable in that they both make me think.
While Twilight makes me think mostly about love, though, The Host deals a lot with trust, society, acceptance, and a variation of the age-old question: are we products or our DNA or environment?
It was very, very interesting and Meyer does a fantastic job of discussing these things (enough to satisfy the plot) but also of leaving enough room for the reader to interpret as they please.
As also liked that, one page, I was on the humans' side, and the next, I was on the aliens'. A very finely-woven net from Meyer, there.
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.
Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.
Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.
Also like Twilight, much, if not most, of this story is character-driven. The book starts off with Wanderer being inserted into Melanie's body and then Wanderer coming to and realizing, right off the bat, that she's not alone there. Then there's some time spent on Wanderer trying to deal with that.
Were I the writer, I would have stalled there. I remember reaching a point in the story and thinking, "Well, that's that. She'd dead-ended herself"
Of course, given that the book is six hundred-something pages, I knew while I thought it that that was wrong.
Meyer has an amazing ability to run down one track for a long time, lulling the reader, before suddenly curving down another, crazy path.
Some of these turns were a tad predictable, but it's the consequences of these twists that I always think I've got pinned down, and it turns out I only have half, if anything.
I just have to think, My God. Where does she come up with this stuff?
How is there enough room in her body for all this fantastic, original creativity?
(Because let me tell you, some of the other, alien worlds and cultures she invented are, ha ha, other-worldly).
All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I loved the characters, and I've been recommending it to anyone who'll listen.
Now, for some spoiler-ific discussion. Don't keep reading if you haven't started/finished the book!
I liked, and also didn't like, the ending. It was completely sappy and predictable, what with the clan not honoring Wanda's wishes to be left in peace. Right. Like they were just going to let her commit suicide. So while I was happy to see this course of action taken, I knew it was coming.
Also, suicide for the betterment of others? Where have we seen that before?
That is an example where some annoyance crept in. I didn't really even like it in Twilight, so I was a touch irritated to see it here again.
I did enjoy the last few pages, however, with Burns and Co. Yes. Indeed. A very appropriate ending. Satisfying, as well, in the sense that it summed things up well and left me wanting more.
I did not like, though, that Wanda's second body was so shy and that she was always blushing. I understand Jared's whole "nobody will suspect a face like that" reasoning, but did the personality behind the face have to be so at odds with someone who had just tried to die to save others?
Also, it took me right out of the romance when Ian (or anyone) would refer to the Souls as worms or centipedes. I know he was being super-understanding and awesome by saying, I Love You, Worm, and all that, but...yea...
Just a little too disorienting for me.
Finally, I was kind of annoyed that there wasn't more mention, in the end, of Wanda and Melanie having a relationship now that there's two bodies between them. Yea, I get that it didn't need to be spoken, but a simple, "Even though we were a little bit sick of each other and ready for some room, we still had lunch together everyday" would have sufficed.
There are my pet peeves.
But we all know that I loved it anyway :)
This review is also a post on my blog.
3 settings where it took place or characters you met:
* Setting: Planet Earth (mostly in and around Arizona), sometime in the future
* Wanderer is a "soul," a type of parasitic alien that insert themselves into host bodies throughout various galaxies. In
* Melanie Stryder is the (unwilling) host for Wanderer, and she refuses to fully vacate her body, even after Wanderer has been inserted. This inability to fully remove the previous host from a body is a new development for Wanderer, and she finds herself struggling to maintain control of her host. But Melanie has a lot to fight for--her young brother Jamie and her lover Jared, who are still fully human and alive, hiding somewhere in the desert. Melanie is bound and determined to fight Wanderer with everything she has in order to protect and find the ones she loves.
4 Things you liked and/or disliked about it:
* I liked how Meyer enabled the reader to sympathize with Wanderer by making her an eminently likable and noble character. The book is told from Wanderer's perspective, so we get the benefit of her experiences and viewpoint. In fact, Meyer makes Wanderer so appealing and likable that you often find yourselves rooting against the humans who are fighting to resist the souls' invasion of their planet.
* I liked how Meyer created a familiar world (almost everything takes place on Earth) with alien overtones to it. The story is told after the invasion of Earth by the souls, so we experience a familiar landscape that has become unfamiliar. The humans who are resisting being taken over by hosts live in a series of intricate underground caves, while the souls colonize the rest of the Earth but in a way that feels familiar but benevolently alien. (The souls have good intentions ... they've seen what a mess humans of made of things and they just want to help out.)
* I liked how Meyer takes her time telling her story (the book is 594 pages) so you get to know and feel invested in the characters and their fates. My only complaint is that characters often don't feel nuanced enough. They are either good (Jamie) or bad (Kyle), with little gray in between. However, Meyer does her best to complicate things toward the end--giving some of the more broadly drawn characters a "moment of truth" to further their emotional and moral development.
* I disliked how easily Meyer was completely able to hijack my reading time (again)! I know a lot of people criticize Meyer and scorn the Twilight books. But, having been sucked into the Twilight series against my will, I have to give the lady credit: she tells a good story. Once I started this book, I was hooked. Although Meyer might not write "great" literature for the ages, I think she is a gifted storyteller who crafts compulsively readable books. What can I say? I'm putty in her hands. (An idea! Perhaps Meyer herself is a soul who has taken over the collective minds of us host humans and compelled us to read her deliciously fun and addictive books!)
5 Stars or less for your rating?
I'm giving the book 4 stars. Meyer has written a book that I think might appeal to sci-fi fans and non-sci-fi fans alike. Venturing into sci-fi territory for the first time, Meyer creates a gripping story that is really not so much about aliens but about humans and what makes us special and unique. Ultimately, I think that is why this book has broad appeal. It would be perfect for readers who don't really read or like sci-fi as it has a strong emphasis on human characters caught up in a strange new world. At the same time, Meyer creates an alien invasion story that has all the classic elements of such a tale but infused with an emotional and romantic plot line that gives it a human heart. If you're looking for a summer read that is simultaneously an "easy" read but also delves into some deeper issues and emotions, this would be the perfect choice.
In this story, planet Earth has been overtaken by aliens called “Souls”. These Souls are parasite-type aliens who implant themselves into the human brain and take over - thus the
In comes Melanie Stryder - part of the human resistance and someone who has evaded capture for several years - she is captured by the Seekers (Souls who search for renegade or “wild” humans) and is implanted with a Soul named Wanderer. Wanderer is like a celebrity within the Souls. She is very old and strong and she has lived many life cycles on different worlds. Upon implant, Wanderer is surprised when Melanie’s consciousness refuses to fade away. Melanie fights and is a voice in Wanderer’s head. Through Melanie’s memories Wanderer is able to see what being human is about - the good (love, laughter, friendships) and the bad (fear, jealousy, rage, anger). Eventually Wanderer and Melanie have to learn to live together, and they go off on a very dangerous mission.
I liked the fact that we get to hear Wandarer’s (eventually nicknamed Wanda) point-of-view. It was Invasion of the Body Snatchers - from the unique perspective of one of the Snatchers.
I will say though that the first 80 pages or so were a bit slow and difficult to get through, for me, but once I passed that I was completely hooked and devoured the remaining 500+ pages.
In conclusion, The Host is definitely a must read! You’ll stay up till the wee hours of the night reading it, I know I did. It also leaves a perfect opening for any sequels and Meyer has already mentioned that she is working on a follow-up that will be appropriately titled “The Soul”, as well as a possible third book she would like to call “The Seeker”. If The Host does spawn a series I know they will be loved just as much as the Twilight Series and I can say that I will be one to stand in line to get one of the first copies available.
I found myself bored in some parts and skimmed through a few chapters very quickly. I take issue with the "everybody comes together and is happy" nature of the story, but that may have been an attempt at making a philosophical comment on humanity.
Overall, it's an OK read. It's not the best book I've ever read, but it's enjoyable for the most part. If there is a follow-up (knowing Myer, there will be)I might read it, but on loan, not to buy.
I enjoyed the first two Twilight books, but ECLIPSE convinced me to stop buying her books in hardcover. I borrowed this one from the library, and I am bloody glad I did.
When it comes to storytelling, there are three things
The setting was just... well, just earth, really, with shuttles instead of planes. Wow, exciting! I couldn't get a feel for the places Wanderer inhabited. The cities were bland; like Wanderer herself, they had no character. The cave systems were a bit better, but they didn't exactly leap off the page. Huh.
And the style? Bland as blancmange. No frills, no delight in the language, no sense of voice. It seems as though Meyer has a slight interest in replicating peoples' speech patterns, but it never quite develops into anything. Like most of the book, the style falls flat.
It wasn't exactly a bad book, but it wasn't a good one either. I read the first two hundred and fifty pages, only to find that I didn't care enough to wade through another three hundred and seventy. I think Meyer needed a more stringent editor to keep her on track and make sure both her characters and her story were moving forward in such a way that the reader was always involved and absorbed. Maybe it gets really good in those last three hundred and seventy pages, but I can't say as I'm willing to take the time to find out.
This book, for those who don't know, is essentially about an alien invasion. These aliens, called "souls", come to Earth and fuse themselves to the spines of humans. They then inhabit the human, obtaining all of its memories and essentially taking over the host's life. The human consciousness is suppressed until it essentially disappears. The souls then live out the lifespan of their host and then transfer to another. They do this on a number of planets, not just Earth. The book focuses on a soul named "Wanderer" who is put into the body of a young woman. Typically the transition is easy and the human is immediately suppressed. Instead, this one remains as a very annoying voice in the head of Wanderer and makes life very hard. Along with acquiring memories, a soul also acquires the human's feelings, so it wasn't long before Wanderer wanted to see "her" family as badly as her human host. From there it's just a long line of mishaps and troubles with people wanting to kill her.
There were a few things I enjoyed about the book. It was certainly a different story than my norm, and I'm always happy to try something new. The relationships were more tolerable than those written by Meyer in the Twilight Series. They were more "normal" if you will, in terms of not being over-the-top, mental case levels of attachment. I will admit, by the end of the book, I felt bad for the dilemma the Wanderer suffered from, wanting to remain on Earth with people she had become attached to, but knowing she was an unwelcome guest in a body that wasn't her own. It's one of the only Stephanie Meyer characters I've ever felt for, aside from Jacob Black. There were a few turns of events in the book which kept it interesting, and added some unique perspective (typically with the body-snatcher scenarios you only ever get the crazed aliens who only want to dominate the planet where-as with Wanderer you experience other emotions regarding the whole scenario).
Like the Twilight series, Stephanie Meyers has an unnatural talent for being long-winded. She takes four pages to say what I could write in a paragraph. She becomes overwhelmingly focused on details to the point where you're mentally begging her to move along! She is also painfully repetitive, reiterating facts every three or four chapters that really don't need to be repeated. For example, the "soul" abhors violence. Rather than say it once and hope the reader has the mental capacity to remember, she feels the need to remind us at every unfortunate turn of events that the soul refuses to defend herself because it would be violent. And then you're stuck reading multiple pages of her arguing with the voice in her head about it as though the argument will actually result in any change in personality.
The story lacks originality in my opinion... parasitic aliens who take over the human race. From Invasion of the Body Snatchers to Animorphs, the story line has been played out. I've heard some people say they couldn't put it down, but I'd have to say there was no easier task for me to perform. I was hoping to read the book quickly and return it to the loaner, but it ended up taking me about four weeks to push myself through. As I reached the third week and had only finished half the book, I had to force myself to sit down and read the rest before I saw the friend again.
The book had a very slow start, and the story took too many chapters to develop. Once the story was finally on a roll, it didn't stop. I mean, it would NEVER END. You sit there thinking, "I'm only 2/3 of the way through the book... how much more can she possibly drag this out?!" No one can beat a dead horse like Meyer can!
In the end, I'd have to say the read wasn't worth my time. Stephanie Meyer lacks writing skill above that of many high school kids, and I find it very difficult to enjoy her books. Something about her writing style reminds me of when students have to write term papers and they add in random adjectives and repeat themselves a dozen times in an effort to make their papers longer.
When I first read the summary for this book, the first thing I thought about was Animorphs. Growing up, I love to read Animorphs, a series about a group of kids fighting mind-invading aliens called Yeerks. The idea of aliens taking over human minds is not a unique one. It has been done many times before in various science fiction stories. What I like about The Host is how Stephenie Meyer presented it – from the alien's point of view rather than the human's.
One thing I noticed about The Host is its similarity to Twilight – some of the characters' personalities are so alike, I wouldn't be surprised if they were the same. Wanderer, without a doubt, reminded me of Bella. They're passive, altruistic, and don't fit in with their own kind - to sum it up, just dull weak characters. On encountering Jamie, the first Twilight character I thought of was Jacob Black – nice and easygoing. Jared definitely reminded me of Edward with his fierceness, strength, and handsomeness. Doc's Twilight twin would be Carlisle, of course. As if the parallel characters weren't enough, even the storyline was almost alike – two guys fighting over one girl with a slight twist.
The souls are not inherently wicked creatures. In fact, they are making the Earth a better place to inhabit. They were able invade because the invasion was gradual, and the souls outnumbered the humans. Wanderer's character really irritated me; I preferred Melanie over Wanderer. Wanderer's character is really too predictable – she always, always does what's right for others. She has no sense of survival instinct, even when others are trying to kill and hurt her; all she does is whimper and cry. I had trouble grasping the fact that a member of an Earth-invading species has trouble defending herself.
A lot of reviews I read about this novel complained about how dull the middle is. I didn't mind that so much, though I thought some parts were really unnecessary. Melanie's initial reaction to Wanderer's and Jared's kiss was really melodramatic for me. I do think the last chapter and the epilogue should have been taken out entirely. The happy ending was too overdone – corny, to be blunt.
I'm not sure why this is considered an adult novel, since it's tamer than Breaking Dawn (from what I've read so far). I actually like The Host better than the Twilight series though. When I looked past its flaws, it really was an excellent story to pass the time. It was interesting enough to keep my attention even through the melodramatic and slightly boring parts. I especially love how the aliens seem more humane than the actual humans at some parts.
A must read for anyone who wants a book that will make you think!
Humanity has been take over by a parasitic (but gentle and peaceful) race known
This was a great, fun read, but what rescues it from being complete beach trash, to me, is the horror these peaceful parasites feel at humanity's casual and constant violence towards enemies and friends alike. They chose this planet to occupy specifically because they saw it being destroyed by human greed and hatred, and saw our wonderfully evolved human bodies (so many senses! so much emotion!) going to such waste. There are a few very funny scenes dealing with this -- one where a human tells a "soul" that the humans knew they were here when all the criminals and junkies started showing up at police stations and emergency rooms to turn themselves in and all the news shows just covered uplifting human-interest stories. Another great scene is where two humans in hiding are watching a basketball game, where two competitors stand next to the ball saying, "Take it, I'm the one that knocked it out of bounds." Ha HA!
It is a story of an alien
I absolutely loved the relationship dynamics between Wanderer and Melanie. They way they interact was fascinating to me. The reactions of otheers to her unique circumstances seemed very fittingly varied and realistic. The plot moves nicely along most of the time. There are a few sections that I had to take a break from because they were slightly drawn out, but to be honest, I'm not sure how you could shorten them up and still make the point needed.
Stephanie Meyer's writing in this book seemed much more fluid and easy to read than her Twilight series and because of this I enjoyed the book much more.
The story is a bit slow and predictable, but it is still a fun read.
I had enjoyed the Twilight Saga, this one had mixed reviews, I needed to read it for myself. This is labeled as an adult science fiction, it was mild, not much action, gore, shock, romance, or mystery. The storyline was slow to start and predictable, there is a lot of characters and it is all simply written. All that is not negative in this case. The mild representation of the ‘body snatchers’ left this chick-lit version open to be about the wonderfully created characters and their emotional battles. It drew me into the characters so much, anger at Jared or Melanie, crying for Ian or Wanda. I could not put it down, and a bonus for me, I grew up in Tucson, I know the area and the visualization for me was so intense I could feel the heat on my skin, it was like going home.
The idea is that the
So the story is told through the eyes of one of these souls named Wanderer (since she's been to so many different planets and lived in hosts). She's been inserted into the body of Melanie Stryder - up until that point one of the last people on earth still resisting the invasion. But Melanie doesn't entirely disapear. Wanderer can still hear her thoughts and frustrations. And Wanderer and Melanie can talk to each other. Melanie is still trying to protect her brother and her love interest, Jared, from getting into the hands of the aliens. And through Melanie's thoughts and memories, Wanderer becomes more sympathetic to the human's plight.
I did like this story. Like other Stephenie Meyer novel, though, I do think that with good writing and editing, the story could have been cut in half from it's large over 600 page size. But I do love that the reader really sympathizes and loves the alien host. That's a great twist. I still think it could be classified as a teen novel. But whatever it is, it's can be a great introduction to the sci-fi genre for people who don't normally read it.
There’s an irony in that the aliens believe they are “saving” humanity by eradicating violence and disease, and seem concerned with the common good. This is their justification for their action of invading other planets, taking over the species of these planets. Thus muddying good versus evil for they believe their good intentions justifies their means.
What I truly enjoyed was watching Wanderer (Wanda) become “human” which is the essence of the novel. Her humanity evolves as she realizes that humanity’s weaknesses and shortcomings are also its strengths – as illustrated in the story lines that I show, below. It’s interesting that the reader is seeing an alien perspective of our humanity. A third party that discovers what WE take for granted. It helped me ponder on our own humanity especially the emotions and feelings toward all others.
For me, this story raised the question, “What makes us love one another?” I was intrigued by Ian’s character – how he could fall in love with Wanda knowing that she was an alien ‘parasite’ in another’s body. The true test of his love was when her soul was removed and put into another human host. I was fascinated when he described how he affectionately held the soul in his hands when it was removed from the host, Melanie. He showed true love transcending physical attraction. I was impressed and envious of his love for this being.
Interesting was the love triangle (or quadrangle) that developed between Wanda/Melanie, Jared, and Ian. Throughout the book, I was wondering how that was going to resolve itself. I leaned toward Ian winning this (if there would be a winner). I started relating to Ian soon after he started feeling compassion toward Wanda. Ian was her caregiver…
I finished this novel nearly in tears. I had become so attached to Wanda that I was not ready to read of her demise. I related so much with Ian that I did not want to see his devastation. He had to stop Wanda’s ultimate plan and save her. But my own fear of a sad ending was alleviated. I welcomed the ending, feeling that I was apart of it.
I look forward to reading another Stephenie Meyer novel. I love her grasp on human emotions and feelings, especially at the adult level. Rarely does a book bring out various emotions in me – she succeeded with The Host.